I live in the MD/DC Area. For months now, I have been trying desperately to find African-American atheists/agnostics/freethinkers etc. in my area. I am the ONLY active young, black, atheist in my college group.

I am starting to believe Black atheists are afraid to come out, except for blogs and the internet. I KNOW I am not alone.

Blacks in the media, because of the same sex marriage debate, are being portrayed as bigoted as some Whites were during Civil Rights. If we are to really change the way our government, media, and religious portray us, we have to show our support.

I spent 24 years of my life, afraid to question religion and God. I have lost friends and family for just questioning my beliefs and standing up. I know is isn't easy, but if you believe like I believe, that we only have this life to live, then DO SOMETHING.

My email is gabriel8@umbc.edu
Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=92973687272

Please, stop hiding behind the computer.

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Replies to This Discussion

I am for real about activism in the community, if you are about that, then hit me up.
Are there any atheist Meetup groups in your area? A very small AA presence is typical, but has been increasing in mine lateley. I recommend finding one and sticking with it. Even if you're the only AA there, another one will come along sooner or later and if you're still hanging around that's two of you, and so forth. It takes patience, but the odds that someone showing at a 95% white group will also be interested in activism are pretty good.
Thanks for the support! Where are you seeing an increase in support?
I help organize an Atheist Meetup in Philadelphia. There are a few AA members who attend but the group is overwhelmingly Caucasian. I suspect there is an intimidation factor in that nonwhites almost always a small minority.

That said I do enjoy the Meetups for the discussions, my group is pretty friendly.

If you enter your zip code here, you can find local Meetups: atheists.meetup.com.

The one I've heard of is Beltway Atheists.
Yes. I am aware of the Beltway Atheists. I know their president, although I never met her in person. I am currently VP of the Secular Atudent Alliance at UMBC, which is part of the Baltimore Coalition of Reason (www.baltimorecor.org). I am trying to be patient, but its hard. I am glad to hear of any AA's in a secular group.

It's important for us to promote minority support in these groups because we as AA's have a tendency to look at Whites as oppressors. In some cases, that may be true. However, we lose credibility in that statement when more Whites show up to support our views than AA's.

I personally believe the 'intimidation' we feel is coming from the Black community. Being an active non-believer requires stepping out of our comfort zone. If we don't do that, WE are our own oppressors.
Atheists more easily transcend racial, ethnic, gender type inheritances. We seek knowledge within and outside of ourselves. I think you will find with respect to any kind of backdrop or window dressing, it is impossible to polarize an atheistic point of reference.
There are several black atheists and humanists in the DC area, though they don't all gather at once. You've already connected with Beltway Atheists. There several other meetup groups, though none to compare in size and activity. There are other organizations such as Washington Area Secular Humanists and Center for Free Inquiry, in which there are sprinklings of black members or attendees to events. A few are somewhat locally prominent, such as Jamila Bey, whom you can find here.
Ralph, thank you for the direction! We just launched a billboard campaign in Baltimore and I work with the WASH president on that. I will coordinate with him on this effort. Center of Free Inquiry, I have not heard of. I will look into that.

This is a good start, thank you Ralph! In the meantime, if anybody in the area is unaffiliated, please start getting involved in these local groups! Even if your not ready to 'come out' to family/friends, you NEED a support base!
Baltimore is probably an even worse place to live than Washington, but I don't know whether potential adversaries would recognize the A-symbol or would be curious enough to inquire aggressively. Interestingly, in DC, I saw a new atheist ad on one bus--"No God? No problem"--pasted to the back of the bus driver's seat, where black bus drivers usually post their own Bible quotes.
The AHA are rolling out another ad campaign in DC this year, hopefully it will generate buzz. I don't think the 'A' symbol is recognizable here in this area. However, the Billboard ads in Baltimore will definitely be noticed!
I think that some of the fear he feels is valid, although maybe blown a bit out of proportion. I don't not want to assume that because fundamentalist are unpredicable. My question to him is, "Are you comfortable living a life of secrecy? Ashamed of being a thinker? Bowing our heads to pray to something you don't believe?" I say this not to be rude, but to get people to understand that we are not freaks of nature.

Standing tall against the tides speaks volumes to your character. Bigotry,threats and violence from theists, however pious they 'claim' to be, speaks volumes about their character.
I live in Ct so i can offer no advice on the MD area. There are a couple of groups up here, but i have not joined any myself. I live in a good and educated environment for the most part. There are many nonbelievers, but they are not vocal on their non belief. Many dont believe but dont voice their opinion, i'm not sure if this is good or bad. There was no backlash from many when they found out i gave up on chrisitianity. OF course most of us african americans adhere to the social customs and norms of our ancestors who cleaved to superstitions of their masters. We held firmly to their beleifs during the civil rights movement. Now we love the singing, euphoria and food, however the price of believing in the boogeyman in the sky is enormous.
If i can comment on some of the previous postings: 1. I think the purpose of joining groups varies for different ppl. Some join for support, companionship and advocacy of atheist view, etc. 2. Is it comprimising my non belief to bow my head when the family prays or should i leave the room? What are some thoughts? We just celebrated Thanksgiving and we bowed our heads, should i not do that & take a stand? We will be celebrating christmas in a few days & now my wife doesnt want to exchange gifts because i no longer wish to celebrate to the birth of Jesus. For her Jesus is the reason for the season. Just looking for some insights, but i guess if i was part of group here in the CT i would gain some info.

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